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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Piccadilly street sign.

Piccadilly is a major London street, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St. James's lies to the south of the eastern section of the street, while the western section is built up only on the northern side and overlooks Green Park. The area to the north is Mayfair.

It is the location of Fortnum & Mason, the Royal Academy, The Ritz Hotel and Hatchards book shop. Simpsons, once amongst the United Kingdom's leading clothing stores, opened on Piccadilly in the 1930s. The store closed in 1999 and the site is now the flagship shop of the booksellers Waterstone's. The area is also home to a number of popular nightclubs ranging from the exclusive ‘Paper’ Nightclub on Regent Street to the tourist-friendly ‘Sound’ in Leicester Square. [1]



Until the 17th century the street was known as Portugal Street. The name Piccadilly arises from a tailor named Robert Baker, who owned a shop on the Strand, in the late 16th century and early 17th century. He amassed a large fortune by making and selling piccadills (also called picadils or pickadils—stiff collars with scalloped edges and a broad lace or perforated border), that were then in fashion. With his great fortune he purchased a large tract of what was then open country to the west of London, and in about 1612 he built a large house there. The mansion soon became known as Piccadilly Hall.

After the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, Piccadilly and the area to the north (Mayfair) began to be systematically developed as a fashionable residential locality. Some of the grandest mansions in London were built on the northern side of Piccadilly: Clarendon House (now the location of Albemarle Street), Berkeley House (later Devonshire House), and Sir John Denham's house (later Burlington House) were constructed in the 17th century. Later mansions included Melbourne House (now The Albany), Apsley House, Bath House and Cambridge House. Several members of the Rothschild family had mansions at the western end of the street, and that part of it was colloquially referred to as Rothschild Row. By the 1920s most of these buildings had been demolished or were in institutional use. The enlargement of Park Lane and the formation of Hyde Park Corner as a major traffic gyratory system has truncated the western stretch of Piccadilly, with the result that Apsley House has become detached from it.

The Ritz

21st century Piccadilly is not one of London's principal shopping streets, despite the presence of several famous shops. The Ritz Hotel is in the street, along with some other luxury hotels. There are also some offices and some very expensive flats. Piccadilly is one of the widest and straightest streets in central London.


In the 1881 comic opera Patience, the popular poetaster and fraud Bunthorne's means of publicizing himself is to walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lilly.

In the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter's address in London is 110a Piccadilly. The number 110a was chosen in homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's use of 221b Baker Street for Sherlock Holmes.

There was a British film made in 1929 called "Piccadilly".

In Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula, Count Dracula owns a house at Piccadilly.

In Brideshead Revisited, the family mansion Marchmain House in Piccadilly is demolished and replaced with luxury flats; although an incident in fiction, this is, in fact, representative of the period.

Margery Allingham's fictional detective, Albert Campion, has a flat at 17A Bottle Street, Piccadilly, over a police station. However, Bottle Street is a made-up name.

The British band Squeeze refers to the area in the song "Piccadilly" on their album "East Side Story" with the lyrics "She meets me in piccadilly/A begging folk singer stands tall by the entrance/His song relays worlds of most good intentions/A fiver a ten p in his hat for collection."

Lucadilly is a fictitious street on a piece of artwork. Lucadilly is inspired by Piccadilly.


The Piccadilly Line of the London Underground takes its name from Piccadilly and part of the line travels under Piccadilly. Green Park, Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly Circus tube stations all have entrances either in or near Piccadilly.

Selected adjoining streets include:

See also


  1. ^ London Piccadilly
  • Robert Baker of Piccadilly Hall and His Heirs by F.H.W. Sheppard (ISBN 0-902087-18-5)

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′17″N 0°08′28″W / 51.50472°N 0.14111°W / 51.50472; -0.14111



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also piccadilly


Wikipedia has an article on:



From Pickadilly Hall, a house belonging to tailor Robert Baker, from piccadilly (a product in which he specialized), a form of piccadill (a type of lace collar), possibly from conjectured Spanish *picadillo, from picado (punctured, pierced); compare 17th century Spanish picadura (a similar lace collar).

Piccadilly attested from 1743; previously the area was called Portugal, and the street Portugal Street (1692), after Catherine of Braganza.

Proper noun




  1. Picadilly street, a street running from Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly Circus
  2. the surrounding area


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